COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― The third-place Colorado Rapids (14-6-10, 52 points) can clinch a berth in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs when they host the fourth-place Portland Timbers (14-12-4, 46 points) on Saturday, October 23. Kickoff is set for 7 PM at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, with pregame coverage beginning on Altitude Sports at 6:30 PM and Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 at 6:45 p.m.
“I feel really good [about the match],” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. “We feel like there are a couple things we can do, a couple different ways we can play depending on the opposition. We’re very close to being very effective in either one. We’ve certainly created chances, as I said. Now it’s final touches in both ends of the field, meaning in front of their goal just being more clinical and more precise in everything we’re doing. And then defensively, it’s the same. In front of goal, we need to be more precise and more clinical.”
The Rapids can clinch a second playoff berth in two full seasons under Fraser with a win on Saturday. Colorado is in third in the Western Conference, six points behind first-place Seattle and even on points with second-place Sporting KC, while also six points ahead of Portland in fourth. The top four playoff seeds in each conference earn home-field advantage in the first round, with the conference winner earning a first-round bye.
Dominique Badji scored on Wednesday as the Rapids tied Seattle, 1-1, at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. It was Badji’s second goal since rejoining the club in July and gave captain Jack Price his 12th assist of the season, third-most in MLS. The draw extended Colorado’s home unbeaten streak to 14 games.
This is the second meeting of the season between these teams. On September 15 in Portland, Jonathan Lewis and Michael Barrios scored in the second half, but Felipe Mora and Sebastian Blanco equalized for the Timbers just minutes after each goal as the teams split points in a 2-2 draw.
Barrios leads the team with eight goals in his first season in Burgundy, while Price is the first Rapids player to earn 12 assists in a season since Omar Cummings in 2009. Badji’s goal was Colorado’s 10th off a corner kick this season, the most in MLS. William Yarbrough is tied for third in MLS with 11 clean sheets.
Saturday’s match marks Portland’s first visit to Colorado since #SnowClasico3 in March 2019, when Andre Shinyashiki scored his first career goal in stoppage time to equalize the coldest match in MLS history (18 degrees). The Rapids are unbeaten in their last four meetings against Portland, including a 1-0 win in Oregon in November 2020 that clinched a playoff berth; Colorado also clinched a playoff spot with a 1-0 win over the Timbers in 2016.
This is the third match in a stretch of five games in 16 days for Colorado. The Rapids visit league-leading New England on Wednesday and Houston on Halloween before closing out the regular season at home against Los Angeles FC on Decision Day, November 7.
“It’s definitely ramping up,” Fraser continued. “We knew when we saw the schedule that the games down the stretch were going to be tough. Good, experienced teams. You talk about Seattle and Portland, good teams with very experienced players. This time of year, we expect it to be difficult. If we don’t, then we’re really naïve.”
Portland enters the match after giving up a two-goal, second-half lead in a 3-2 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday. Yimmi Chara and Dairon Asprilla scored for the Timbers before Déiber Caicedo, Brian White and Cristian Dájome scored to lift Vancouver into the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. It was Portland’s second straight loss after an eight-game unbeaten streak.
Mora leads Portland with 11 goals, while Blanco and Marvin Loría pace the club with six assists apiece. Cristian Paredes will miss Saturday’s match due to yellow card accumulation.
“They’re a good a counter-attacking team as there is in the league,” Fraser said of Portland. “They have some special players that can really make decisions on the move. Part of what we need to be able to do is be in good positions to prevent counterattacks.”
Playoff Clinch Scenarios
Colorado Rapids will clinch a berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs if...
- Colorado Rapids win vs. Portland Timbers
Colorado can also clinch a playoff spot with a draw AND...
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose vs. San Jose Earthquakes OR
- Minnesota United FC lose or tie vs. Los Angeles FC OR
- LA Galaxy lose or tie vs. FC Dallas
Alternatively, Colorado can clinch with a loss on Saturday AND...
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose or tie vs. San Jose Earthquakes AND LA Galaxy lose vs. FC Dallas
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose or tie vs. San Jose Earthquakes AND Minnesota United FC-Los Angeles FC tie
The Rapids can also clinch a top-four playoff seed and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs if:
- Colorado Rapids win vs. Portland Timbers AND
- LA Galaxy lose vs. FC Dallas AND
- Minnesota United FC lose or tie vs. Los Angeles FC AND
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose or tie vs.San Jose Earthquakes
News & Notes
- Colorado’s next win will be its 300th all-time in the regular season.
- Drew Moor’s next appearance will be his 200th with Colorado. He will be the second player in club history to reach the milestone (Pablo Mastroeni).
- Dominique Badji’s next appearance will be his 100th with Colorado in MLS. He is tied for seventh on Colorado’s all-time scoring list (Mark Chung) and his 26 goals are second-most by a Rapids SuperDraft pick in Burgundy (Omar Cummings, 39). His next goal will be his 27th with the club, tying current assistant coach Wolde Harris for sixth in club history.
- Michael Barrios has four goals in 12 career appearances against Portland. He scored a wondergoal in the 2-2 draw in Oregon on Sept. 15
- Kellyn Acosta has two goals and three assists in 10 career matches against Portland. Acosta scored Colorado’s playoff-clinching goal in Portland on Nov. 4, 2020.
- Mark-Anthony Kaye has three goals and two assists in eight career matches against Portland. His .85 through balls per 90 minutes are fourth-most in MLS among players with at least 10 games played.
- Jonathan Lewis has two goals in four career appearances against Portland.
- Nico Mezquida’s next appearance will be his 70th since joining the club ahead of the 2019 season.
- Diego Rubio has two goals and an assist in six career matches against Portland. Rubio assisted on Kellyn Acosta’s playoff-clinching goal in Oregon in November 2020.
- Andre Shinyashiki has one goal and an assist in four career matches against Portland.